UNLV’s Christian Wood declared for the NBA Draft. What kind of prospect will he amount to be?
6-11, 220, PF, UNLV
Christian Wood came to UNLV with all the potential in the world as a combo-forward capable of playing on the wing and with the size to play on the block. However, his freshman season wasn’t ideal – Wood only played 13 minutes while averaging 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Part of that was the depth for UNLV upfront, as Roscoe Smith and Khem Birch both averaged double-doubles last season.
With those two departures from last year’s team, it was Wood’s time to shine upfront, and he took full advantage. Wood teamed up with fellow NBA Draft prospect Rashad Vaughn and averaged 15.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game his sophomore season. The leap he took showed the promise he came in with as a four-star prospect out of Findlay Prep and led to him recently declaring for the NBA Draft.
When first watching Wood, his size and mobility stand out at first glance. He has perfect attributes to be a stretch four in the NBA, standing between 6-10 and 6-11 with a 7-2 wingspan and an improvable jump shot. Wood glides around the court smoothly and has great foot speed and athleticism to keep up with stretch fours defensively.
However, he greatly needs to bulk up to handle post-ups of NBA power forwards.
Wood came to UNLV at 210 pounds; he has since put on 10 pounds which have helped, but will need to get closer to 230-235 to withstand NBA athletes in the paint without losing too much mobility. He needs the extra weight to help gain position in the low post as well. He doesn’t have many post moves right now and must keep developing on offense to play power forward full-time.
He shows good anticipation going for blocks already but must become more disciplined defensively in the NBA, as he is often caught out of position. It showed statistically, only averaging 0.3 steals per game in both seasons at UNLV.
Wood shot only 28.4 percent from three-point range this past season, but he shows promise with a soft touch, smooth release and solid free-throw shooting ability (73.6 percent). Jump shots are the easiest to improve in time, and Wood will improve eventually.
Overall, Wood is still trying to get comfortable playing in the post full-time. He desperately needs strength, but is young for his age at 19 as a college sophomore, so time is in his favor. His biggest concern from an NBA standpoint is his lack of strength as he struggles to get post-position and defend in the post. He catches most of his passes at the mid-post as he gets pushed out from underneath the hoop often, but is able to use his quickness to beat slow-footed opponents off the dribble.
Wood has intriguing versatility playing out on the perimeter but needs to improve his jump shot to reach his potential as a John Henson-type player in the NBA. Chances are Wood will be picked from 20-30 in the upcoming NBA draft and be a solid stretch-four on the right NBA team with a couple years of development.